2019 Loan Charge — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 20th November 2018.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe 2:30 pm, 20th November 2018

It is my intention in my concluding remarks to stridently condemn the promoters of these schemes, who have ended up luring people into misery through what they have done.

Before closing with this letter, I want to mention that the Chancellor also wrote:

“It is not normal, or indeed reasonable, to be paid in loans that are not repaid in practice. It is not fair to the vast majority of taxpayers who pay their taxes in full and on time for anyone to benefit from contrived avoidance of this sort and that is why this government has legislated the charge on DR loans.”

I agree with the Chancellor that it is not normal or reasonable, but I make it very clear that I place the blame on the promoters of these schemes.

HMRC initially expected 40,000 people to be affected, although in a recent parliamentary question, my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury gave a new figure of 50,000. HMRC’s impact note stated:

“The government anticipates that some of these individuals will become insolvent as a result.”

The Loan Charge Action Group suggests that the loan charge will end up affecting probably upwards of 100,000 people and their families.

Stephen Lloyd has tabled an EDM criticising the measure, arguing that

“retrospectively taxing something that was technically allowed at the time, is unfair”.

Of course, I would agree. HMRC has argued that the loan charge is a new tax on a new source, and described it as retroactive rather than retrospective. I would like the Minister, if he can, to explain both terms and any difference that the Treasury is implying.